Tips for Navigating Through Senior Healthcare Options

By Kate Conan

If you or a loved one are considering long-term care options, you’re not alone. According to the Administration for Community Living, nearly 70% of adults aged 65 or older require some variation of long-term care service. However, many people find themselves overwhelmed with the different options and levels of care.

As Loretto’s senior outreach coordinator, my goal is to help steer you in the right direction. Through the new “Navigate with Kate” program, I guide clients through each step as they learn about different facility options and levels of service. Long-term care and finding the right fit can be confusing during this transitional phase in life.

That’s why I am here to help you navigate through all of your questions.

As I’ve been working closely with families and community resources, I am finding that there are a lot of questions on how to get started, whether it is at Loretto, or any long-term care facility. Here are some of my navigating tips:

As you consider what kind of care you or your loved one will need, your first step should be to see your primary care provider. They will either evaluate you themselves or send you for an assessment using the patient review instrument.

This phrase — patient review instrument or PRI — is a common term used in long-term care lingo, but what does it mean? According to NY Connects, a PRI is “an assessment tool developed by the New York State Department of Health to assess selected physical, medical and cognitive characteristics of nursing home residents, as well as to document selected services that they may receive.”

Once you receive the results of a PRI, a tour of the facility is an excellent next step. Taking a look around will help you determine whether or not a particular location is the right fit for you or your loved one.

Another concern that clients often wonder about is how long does the entire process take? Even though there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, the process tends to go much more smoothly and quickly with some guidance. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!

However, I can tell you a few key steps you need to take before a resident can enter the facility. Before the move-in process begins, a prospective resident will need:

• a PRI

• physical examination

• tuberculosis and COVID-19 tests

• completed housing and financial applications.

When considering senior care options, many people worry about the cost — one of the most common topics that folks ask me about. Pricing varies by each facility. Be sure to ask questions and explore your options, e.g., senior independent living California. It’s important to fully understand the financial requirements and responsibility for long-term care.

One benefit of Loretto’s continuum of care is that there are a variety of services we provide for every budget. We accept many payment options, such as private pay, Medicare, Medicaid and long-term care insurance. Through our navigator program, we can help to walk you through cost and financing options. We will work with you to provide all the necessary information and help you find the best solution for you and your loved one.

If you feel like you need more guidance, don’t worry, that’s the purpose of our new navigator program. If you are looking for comprehensive long-term care for yourself or a loved one but are unsure where to start, learn more at lorettocny.org/navigator.


Kate Conan is a registered nurse and the senior outreach coordinator at Loretto in Syracuse.